The past week has been a telling period for the clubs in the race for a top four finish in the Premier League.
With the quick turnaround between last weekend’s fixtures and the midweek football on Tuesday and Wednesday, certain teams were looking over their shoulder with others more anxious to make up ground on those ahead of them.
It is now a formality that Tottenham Hotspur and champions elect Chelsea will finish safely inside the Champions League qualification spots. Spurs picked up victories on their travels to Burnley and in dramatic fashion at Swansea, with three late goals to come from one behind to win 3 – 1. If Antonio Conte’s charges were to have any hiccups on their run in, they would be doing so in the knowledge that Mauricio Pochettino and co. will be hot on their heels.
While Manchester United had the opportunity to go level on points with a game in hand of Manchester City, who currently lie fourth, they could only muster up a pair of home draws with West Brom and Everton. Although United are favourites to win the Europa League, which also grants a position in the Champions League, all at Old Trafford will be livid that they could not capitalise this week.
Liverpool have suffered a blow in that top scorer Sadio Mane will miss the remainder of the season through an injury picked up in the weekend’s Merseyside Derby, but are still odds-on with bookmakers to clinch a top four finish.
Arsenal are in turmoil with uncertainty looming over Arsene Wenger’s future as well as several key players, including Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Fan protests at the Emirates are now a weekly occurrence as they stare down the barrel of a first finish outside the top four and behind bitter rivals Spurs for 22 years.
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have given their predictions as to who will come out on top in the race for top four. The pair are in agreement that the current top four (Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City) should see out the job between now and the end of the season.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville said:
“I think it will be the current top four and Man United and Arsenal will miss out.
So many of the United games, they should have won and could have won… They just haven’t got that killer instinct to kill teams off.
“At this moment in time, they make it so difficult for themselves to get in the top four. If you like at the fixtures they’ve got, it is so tough. I think too many mistakes have been made.”
Carragher then stated:
“Liverpool have an advantage of no European football but I feel if Liverpool and Tottenham get into the top four they have had a great season because they don’t have the budget that other sides maybe more going for the title have.
“I think, with the position they’re in, Liverpool would be really disappointed if they didn’t make it and I think it would be a big blow if they don’t finish in the top four.”
Read More About: antonio conte, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Chelsea, gary neville, jamie carragher, jose mourinho, jurgen klopp, Liverpool, Man United, Manchester City, Manchester United, Premier League, tottenham hotspur